Djuna Barnes

(1892-1982) American novelist and short-story writer. For many years a resident of Europe, Barnes was the author of three experimental plays produced in 1919-1920 by the Provincetown Players: Three from the Earth, An Irish Triangle, and Kurzy from the Sea. Ryder (1928) and Nightwood (1936) are her best-known books. The latter, with an introduction by T.S. Eliot, is an experimental novel dealing with the Parisian artistic underground. After the publication of Nightwood, however, Barnes became a recluse. She published only one play and two poems after this, the main reason for her lack of fame today; in her time, she was extremely influential. The Antiphon (1958) is a surrealistic play in blank verse. Her Selected Works appeared in 1962. In 1983, soon after her death, Smoke and Other Early Stories was published for the first time. Interviews (1985), a collection of newspaper and magazine conversations with celebrities presents forty portraits of varied people and is illustrated by Barnes’s own drawings.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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